OK. So I said that operating old equipment now and then is fun but I’m not interested in owning any. Well… I bought some old equipment. At the Mic and Key hamfest in Puyallup a couple of weeks ago, I picked up a WWII vintage J-38 strait key. The key is in pretty good shape with only one of the thumbscrews missing. This key was made by Lionel, the toy train company, who was the only manufacturers to stamp their logo on the keys. Ah, marketing. Please check out the very well done K6IX J-38 web page for interesting information about these keys. My reason for buying a key was to develop my CW skills by learning how to use every major style of Morse keying device. My club, Radio Club of Tacoma, W7DK, has been a great resource for learning the correct technique for sending with a strait key. I also joined the Strait Key Century Club, member number 4299, so if I get around to it, I can participate in their on-air activities. Admittedly, operating a strait key is harder than it looks. You really have to be aware of the length of every element of the code you are sending. I tend to drag my dahs out a bit and leave too much space between elements of individual letters. It takes practice. Next, the bug!
Here is mine. I left the dust on it since that was thrown in for free.